Raccoon rabies surveillance and control operations

General notice

Rabies poses a threat to you and your domestic pets

If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal or in contact with its saliva, consult the Actions to take after coming into contact with a potentially infected animal section of rabies in humans.

If you suspect that your domestic animal has been in contact with a rabid animal, consult your veterinarian immediately.

If you suspect that a wild animal has rabies, stay away and report it at 1-877-346-6763 or fill the online form This hyperlink will open in a new window. . The animal could be collected for analysis.

The Gouvernement du Québec has implemented a plan to fight against raccoon rabies. It provides for surveillance and control operations to keep Québec free from this type of rabies.

Raccoon rabies surveillance and control operations target raccoons, skunks and foxes.

Surveillance operations

Surveillance operations consist of collecting animals that have died or show signs of rabies in high risk zones in order to carry out analyses to determine whether or not they are infected with the disease.

Raccoon rabies surveillance aims to:

  • Verify if the disease is present in Québec since cases are detected every year in wild animals in neighbouring states;
  • Document the duration, size of the territory affected and the intensity of the outbreak, were one to occur in Québec;
  • Closely monitor raccoon rabies outside Québec, since it is likely to pose a threat at our borders;
  • Provide data to support scientific and epidemiological findings and risk analyses.

Reports on the surveillance operations are available:

Enhanced surveillance zone

The enhanced surveillance zone located in Montérégie and Estrie is the territory most at risk of raccoon rabies introduction. Residents in this area are called upon to report suspicious animals year round. Their collaboration is essential because among all the specimens analyzed, the odds of detecting a rabid animal are highest among the animals reported by citizens.

The area includes 161 municipalities, Indigenous territories and unorganized territories (UTs). Consult the List of municipalities in Montérégie and Estrie targeted by the enhanced surveillance (PDF 340 Kb) and the map of Québec raccoon rabies enhanced surveillance area (PDF 1.33 Mb) to see the extent of the territory in this zone.

Increased risk of raccoon rabies introduction into Québec in 2023

Québec authorities are paying close attention to two areas in the northern United States (PDF 1.33 Mb) because they present an increased risk for the reintroduction of raccoon rabies into Québec.

Burlington, Vermont area

Since March 2022, several cases of racoon rabies have been detected in racoons and skunks in the Burlington area, in Vermont, just over 50 km from Québec. Large-scale intervention operations have been deployed by U.S. authorities to limit the spread of this outbreak and eliminate it.

Because of their proximity to this area, residents of the following municipalities are urged to be vigilant:

  • Bedford;
  • Clarenceville;
  • Dunham;
  • Frelighsburg;
  • Henryville;
  • Lacolle;
  • Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge;
  • Noyan;
  • Pike River;
  • Saint-Armand;
  • Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle;
  • Saint-Ignace-de-Stanbridge;
  • Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix;
  • Saint-Sébastien;
  • Saint-Valentin;
  • Stanbridge East;
  • Stanbridge Station;
  • Venise-en-Québec.

If you live in or visit these areas, be extra cautious in the presence of potentially rabid animals and report any suspicious wild animals.

Eustis, Maine area

In June 2023, a case of raccoon rabies was discovered in the Eustis area in northwestern Maine. The case is about 23 km from the Québec border. U.S. authorities are conducting increased surveillance of wild animals suspected of rabies in this area to determine whether the disease has spread and, if so, assess the extent of the outbreak.

In Québec, following the recommendations of an expert committee, the enhanced surveillance zone was adjusted to include 18 municipalities in the Estrie region (PDF 1.24 Mb) that are now at risk of raccoon rabies introduction. Close collaboration with U.S. authorities is continuing in order to implement the best strategies to limit this risk.

Control operations

Control operations seek to contain, reduce, or eliminate raccoon rabies in a given territory. The vaccination of wild animals through the manual and aerial distribution of vaccine baits is the main intervention measure.

Following the detection in 2006 of the first case of raccoon rabies in Québec, the operations targeted the control and elimination of this rabies variant. The objective was attained in 2010. At present, the objective of the rabies control plan is to keep Québec free of raccoon rabies by avoiding its reintroduction, especially from the United States. Rabies cases are detected each year not far from southern Québec in Vermont and New York State.

No vaccination campaign will be conducted in 2023. Québec is pursuing its collaboration with neighbouring provinces and states to eliminate raccoon rabies in northeastern North America. Should a raccoon rabies case be detected in Québec or on its border, an emergency response plan will rapidly delimit and control the disease’s spread.

Last update: January 8, 2024


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